In his first television interview since taking office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. defended the integrity and mission of the Justice Department today and said it will continue to prosecute political figures when necessary, despite a federal judge’s dismissal of the conviction of former senator Ted Stevens.
“History has shown that the people who work in this department are good lawyers, they’re fair lawyers, they follow the rules,” Holder told CBS’s Katie Couric in an interview, portions of which aired tonight (see above). “We’re not going to be timid. People should not take from this episode any indication that we’re going to be timid in enforcing the laws going after those that break our laws, especially those who are entrusted with great political positions. That is going to be a focus of this department under me. We’re going to go after white collar criminals.”
When asked by Couric how he will restore the department’s integrity, Holder said, “You lead by example, and what I think I did in the Stevens case, at great pain, was to tell the world this is not the way in which this Justice Department will conduct itself.”